This Tea Bus Brings Strangers Together Over Free Tea

What if you saw a little white school bus camped out on the side of the road with a sign that said "free tea" balanced in front. How would you react? While some may look suspiciously askance at the vehicle, Giuseppe Spadafora who owns the mobile tea bus says that many people surprise themselves when they satisfy their curiosity and step into his transient tea hut. 

When he first began serving tea in this fashion, however, he wasn't expecting the warm welcome that he received. Almost a decade ago, Spadafora was working in LA as a videographer and found that he was spending all of his time throwing himself into work with not much chance for social interaction outside of his job.

Free iced tea while gathering for combating climate change here at the #DNC in Philly.

A post shared by Edna Lu The-Teabus (@freeteaparty) on

In order to change that pattern, he decided to conduct a nightly tailgate off Hollywood Boulevard. Every night for three months, he would cook a little bit of dinner and a lot of tea, and offer his humble preparations to passersby who were hungry for sustenance and conversation.

Slowly but surely he began to create friendships and realized that he was on to something. In the hope of continuing to cultivate the mishmash of humanity that would frequently seat themselves at his truck over a cup of hot tea, Spadafora decided to take his tea wagon on the road.

What the Tea Bus Creates

On his website, he explains the inspiration behind his journey from Los Angeles around the country saying, "This small offering made to people was enough to create friendships between all classes and colors, spark conversations on hundreds of topics, put a human face on those involved, and create a strong community."

Over time he has found that by sharing knowledge, stories, and cups of tea, the tea bus helps to create "community, health, peace, sustainability, and genuine human interactions." In short, the tea bus is about community.

An Alternative Community

When you board the bus, remember you're stepping off society's prescribed path and into "alternative to self-centered, over-consumptive, overcompetitive, under-competent, and high-speed philosophies often fostered by our society."

According to the website, there are three tenants to embracing a lifestyle filled with genuine community and copious amounts of free tea.

(1) The gift economy - the idea that goods and services can be given without anything required in return. We all have something in abundance to share.

(2) The slow movement - the idea that everything has it's own speed at which it is done best, and that we often focus too much on getting things done fast. We bring the slowness!

(3) Do-It-Yourself (DIY) or Do-It-Together (DIT) - becoming more directly in control of taking care of our necessities and desires.

How Can You Join the Free Tea Party?

As the tea bus is mobile and unpredictable, this is a very good question. A good way to begin by following Spadafora and Edna Lu the tea bus (yes, the bus is named Edna Lu) on Instagram or Facebook.

Other than that, just keep your ear to the ground. You may hear rumblings about a vagabond teahouse that is pouring out cups of camaraderie as it passes through.

"Whatever the situation, 
Whatever the race or creed,
Tea knows no segregation, 
No class or pedigree.
It knows no motivation, 
No sect or organization,
It knows no one religion,
Nor political belief."

Have a Cuppa Tea 
- The Kinks

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